Letters to the Editor

We might have something to learn about respect

I am not a Catholic and have not practiced approved Catholic family planning.

But as I have tried to understand the Catholic view, it seems to arise out of an old pre-modern perspective of reverence and respect for the body in all its God-given complexity, including fertility. Whereas, we moderns by and large have turned the body, and the Earth, into a kind of machine or tool or toy, enabling us to isolate and  select this or that part or function as it pleases our desire or suits our technical and industrial devices and purposes. We have pursued this line, it seems, until we cannot tell desire from despair.

Whatever else one says about the Catholic view, its call for personal restraint and spiritual discipline out of respect and reverence for the body — these are qualities and disciplines which we must all begin to exercise toward the whole of creation, if we are to continue to have and enjoy a beautiful, fruitful and habitable Earth. So, perhaps we have something to learn from the Catholics?

If we cannot respect the ecology of our bodies which are small and near, what chance is there that we’ll truly respect the whole Earth? If we truly reverence the body as a work of God, why not the rest of his works, as well?

— Jack Stewart

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